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České Budějovice town tour - Around the town centre

But in order to see the historic town centre “from all sides“ we can take a walk through the town park. It was built along the Mill Channel, which flows around the town centre from the north and east. This manmade water channel fed the moat, which supplemented the protective function of the Vltava and Malše rivers protecting the town in the south and west. From outside, the park is lined by a busy road called Na Sadech; but the park itself offers an opportunity to take a peaceful walk.

To get to the park from the square, we can take Krajinská Street, U Černé věže Street, Kněžská Street or Kanovnická Street. Kanovnická Street will lead us to the place where the park begins (or ends, if you like).

Town park

Crossing busy Na Sadech road would take us to Lanna‘s Avenue. But let‘s leave the avenue until later and instead head for the green park. Here we will pause next to the monument of local businessman and industrialist Vojtěch Lanna (1805-1866). The monument dates to 1897. The symbolic scenes on reliefs on its pedestal are also worth a look.

The town park across which we are going to walk now started to be created at the beginning the 19th century at the site of the former town fortification and moat. It was remodelled into its current shape from 1874 to 1879. It is also interesting to point out that 58 kinds of woody plants grow here. After a while we will reach a place where the ground plan of the park widens and where we can sit down and rest on a bench by a stone fountain.

A little further we can see the two-storey Eggert‘s Villa of 1859, which is situated on the opposite side of Na Sadech Street. It used to be one of the first buildings of this type in České Budějovice and now it is the seat of the Research Library of South Bohemia. However, it is not the only interesting villa in the town.

Hardtmuth‘s Villa

The best known villa in České Budějovice is Hardtmuth‘s Villa near the winter sports stadium. It was built by architect Johann Stepan for one of the owners of the pencil factory Franz Hardmuth and his wife Anne from 1911 to 1912. The ostentatious building with rich interior decoration looks almost like a noble manor. In U Zimního stadionu Street we can find Lamezan‘s Villa dating back to the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, which was inspired by English architecture. Nobody knows who created the villa. A beautiful example of functionalist architecture (influenced by purism) is the villa of industrialist Miroslav Zátka dating to 1932 situated in Hus Street. A significant avant-garde modernist villa at Dukelská Street no. 80 was built in 1935. A remarkable feature of this villa is the protruding semi-cylinder of its staircase. The house that belonged to JUDr. František Švec is considered by experts as the most modern pre-war building in České Budějovice.

We are arriving at the open space of the Mariana Square, which is actually a crossing of Na Sadech Street, Hus Avenue and Prague Avenue. The square was named after a sculptural group of Our Lady of Budějovice, which was built here in 1716.

Mariana Barracks

The corner of Hus Avenue and Prague Avenue is formed by a block of two-storey classicist houses of Mariana Barracks, which were finished in 1849. During the times of the Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy the 91st infantry regiment was placed here and writer Jaroslav Hašek (1883-1923) spent several months here in 1915 as a one-year volunteer. A few episodes of his novel about the good soldier Švejk were set here, too.

Jaroslav Hašek was one of several famous writers who was “honoured“ to stay in the Mariana Barracks. Poet Fráňa Šrámek was a soldier (and probably also a prisoner) here before World War I.